Wednesday, April 30, 2008

job hunting

David is officially seeking new employment. So, if you know anyone who is looking for a smart, savvy guy with financial, computer, project planning & management skills, as well as that ever useful zoological know-how, let us know, huh?

Otherwise, just keep us (& especially him) in your prayers, please.

Monday, April 28, 2008

photoshop photoshop, Oh photo photoshop

(That should be sung to the tune of the old song Lollipop, which, incidentally, my best friend at age 8 (her name was Cassie) and I made up a whole lip sync routine to in her bedroom one sleepover. We thought we were pretty fabulous.)

I've been working through a bunch of photoshop tutorials in an effort to hone my craft. One of these months I'm going to have my own photography business, and I need to continue mastering the necessary skills, both in camera and post-production. It's easy to tell myself that I need more/better equipment before I get into it, but the truth of the matter is that I have enough "stuff" to take really great photos. All I need to improve is my skills. It's easy to get discouraged when I look at some other photographer's websites, but I'm realizing that a lot of what I like about their pictures is the post-production effects. You do have to start out with a good photo, but from there you can really make it pop.

I also have to come up with a business name. I have a few photographer friends who use their names in their business title, but that doesn't appeal to me. I want a name that is fun and somewhat whimsical, but is well-suited for me. Feel free to share any ideas.

Here's a picture from last summer I was working with.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

hot pool shark mamas

Debra came and picked me up last night (I love having a friend who lives only two blocks away!) and we decided to go play pool. We played for 117 minutes (they keep track like that so they can charge you super accurately), and I think we played five games. Maybe six. I won one. Debra won two (or maybe three, if we played six). I lost one by shooting the 8 ball while attempting to get my final ball, and Debra did the same on the next game. I did have one fabulous run of three balls, though, which was my highlight of the night. Partway through our fun we noticed that we were the only female-female table there. All the other tables were occupied either by girl-guy couples on dates, or two or more guys. Seems like a pretty good chance that we were the only moms there, too. As an added bonus, there was a live band performing upstairs and they were actually pretty good. They even had a song with a cowbell. Which of course made me happy. (Did you know I asked for-and received-a cowbell for Christmas? Thanks again, Jenn!!)

In honor of the cowbell, enjoy the following:

And I still really want this tee shirt. Someday it will be mine.

the week in photos

Smiths had cereal on sale this week--8 for $8. Plus, every time you check out, you get a $2 coupon, so you can buy your NEXT batch of 8 for only $6.48. We like to stock up when they have these sales. You really can't beat such a cheap breakfast.

I've been craving peanut butter cookies for days (and asking David to pick up peanut butter from the health food store for a week and a half) and I finally got to make some!! Oh yumminess! The problem is, using the all natural (peanuts only) peanut butter makes me feel like the cookies are kind of healthy (yes, I ignore the sugar content) and I tend to overindulge. At least I made them small--that way I can eat four cookies and it's really only two.

Last Sunday while Clive was napping, David, Noodle, the dogs & I had some fun in the sun in the backyard. On Thursday we had another weird weather day, complete with a quick and furious snowfall. Happily nothing stuck.

And, as promised, more rattie pictures.

Friday, April 25, 2008

lame blogging week

To my few devoted readers, I apologize for the lack of engaging/stimulating posts this week. It's been pretty hectic around here. David has had some really rotten crap to deal with in his businesses which has spilled over into the general level of tranquility. We are exploring his options, so I've spent my online time doing that sort of stuff, as well as trying to keep the house from turning into a complete disaster zone. I'm feeling pretty spent, emotionally, so even when I've had the time, it's been hard to think of something worth typing. I like to blog interesting/funny or occasionally thought-provoking stuff, but this week I've not had it in me to share much. And I haven't been up to reading much on my favorite blogs, either. Hopefully I'll be in a better place in a few days and can resume my regularly scheduled blogging and blog-reading. xt

I did want to share this cute picture Noodle drew for me this morning, though. When we bought my new computer, we got a scanner with it. It's been fun to use.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

i love home remedies...

So Rudy, our basset hound, was so stinky! Sometimes it would make my eyes water, and I couldn't figure out why he was especially stinky. I think he had a yeast infection in his ear, so I've been cleaning and treating it daily with a rubbing alcohol/white vinegar solution (with a few drops of tea tree oil for good measure) and I think we are getting it under control. Yay! No more super stink!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

'tis the season

Slurpee Season, that is! Today, in the midst of our family outings and errands, we stopped at 7-11 and partook of the inaugural Slurpee of the year. I have to admit, as I stood at the Slurpee counter and looked undecidedly over the eight flavors, I felt a twinge of excitement flutter up from my stomach. Oh yes! Give me sweet, sugary (or not, depending on your flavor of choice), syrupy goodness, complete with a straw-spoon! What better way to enjoy a warm day! My flavors of choice were Coca-cola, pina colada and wild cherry, alternated in attractive layers of red, white and brown. Okay, so the brown doesn't make for the loveliest Slurpee rainbow, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. To round out our "lunch," we got a bag of Cheetos.

I would make a lousy health food purist. And I'm okay with that.

display of craziness

These are from shortly after Christmas (in case you notice the cards on the wall...I did have them down by the end of January!).

if you're a local...

You might want to save this info about city festivals. We have sure enjoyed going to some every summer. Who doesn't like cotton candy and funnel cakes?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

for the twilight fans...

Of course, you may all know this already, but filming has begun for the Twilight movie, based on the books by Stephenie Meyer. I think the choices for Edward (Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter) and Bella will be good matches, fairly close to what I pictured in my mind. And the kid who is playing Jacob is a super cutie, but he looks too little and too young. Of course, those things are easily remedied in film.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Marc tagged me. And since I'm lacking creativity (and it's proper blogging etiquette) I'll play along.

If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go?
I think right now I'd go back to the Amazon. I could also be happy in another tropical paradise or somewhere beautiful in Africa, but the Amazon is a known paradise. A tropical island somewhere is also sounding nice...

Where would you retire? Somewhere warm. I could happily settle (I think) in Arizona or New Mexico. Or even Old Mexico. As long as I had enough money to visit friends and family.

Most memorable birthday? 23rd. David flew me to San Francisco (my favorite U.S. city) and proposed on the rocky "beach" under the Golden Gate Bridge. But I have to share my, apparently, least memorable birthday tale, too. I was 8 months pregnant with Noodle when I turned 24, so I think my brain just glossed over the fact that I was a year older. When people asked how old I was (which admittedly didn't happen all that often) I was still telling them 23 until about the next March, when I told someone and then realized, a few hours later, "Wait! I'm 24!" I still feel like I'm 23. Which is why 30 in exactly three weeks is a bit daunting. Happily I have many friends, including David, on the other side, so I'm hopeful that neither life nor fun ends at thirty.

What is your favorite flower? I love lilacs for their smell and delicate beauty (and they are delicious when candied and put on a birthday cake), and I like the fact that they bloom around my birthday.

When was the last time you cried? Hmm, I've been a dry crier lately. Saturday night, probably (from the movie Kite Runner).

What did you do last night? Went to see Polynesian Dancers at the library, then out for yummy SmartCookies with friends. Came home, put the kids to bed, and listened to Love, Stargirl book on CD.

What are you afraid of? Losing loved ones. Also, grown people in masks scare me a little.

3 bad habits? Staying up too late, sleeping in too late, blaming people for things too soon

If I were a billionaire I would? Open an animal refuge/sanctuary

A few things your friends might not know about you? I am very gifted at picking things up with my toes. Once I even made a postcard (complete with cutting, glueing and writing) only with my feet. I'm a really great Scrabble & Boggle player. I take lousy care of my cuticles.

I tag? Blue, Debra & Native Minnow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the Bread of Life

I'm not really one to pontificate on spiritual matters, especially not on my blog. I don't know why, exactly, though I'm sure that part of it is that I've been pretty spiritually empty during the past nearly three years that I've been blogging. When you're empty, you don't have much to give. The other part is that I'm just kind of a private person about those sorts of things. So whether great or not so great, you aren't likely to get the details from me on a regular basis.

But I do feel like sharing some thoughts today.

Visiting teaching last month, there wasn't a VT message in the Ensign, so you were supposed to share something you felt like sharing from the magazine. Well, it was all about Jesus Christ, so not too impossible to find something worth sharing. What I chose was a bit from the article I Am the Way, which explores a number of the analogies/parables about Christ. The one I focused on was the verses from John chapter six, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” For some reason, when I read that this time it really hit me what it meant to me, personally. I was never wooed into a low-carb diet simply because I knew I couldn't do it, and really it wouldn't have been worth the sacrifice of bread. I love bread. I love vegetables, too, but not like I do bread. I can eat vegetables all day long, but still feel hungry (though likely pretty gassy) if I've not had any bread. I realized that it is the same with Christ. I can fill my life full of other wonderful and good things, but if I'm leaving out Christ, I'm going to feel incomplete and unsatisfied. And we really do need to feed ourselves spiritually every day. Since I've been doing "The Hinckley Challenge" to read the Book of Mormon in 97 days, I've been amazed at the increase in my spiritual well-being and overall happiness. I have found it much easier not to worry myself sick about our financial challenges and not to get completely bent out of shape over small misdeeds or annoyances of the kids and pets. I can truly feel the arms of God, or perhaps his angels, cushioning me and comforting me.

The sad part is, I've done this more than once before. Life has compelled me to be humble, and I feast upon the words of Christ and pour out my soul in prayer just to make it through. In one of my roughest periods, I honestly didn't feel like I could make it through each day without putting in a fair amount of time on my knees and in the scriptures. And He was there for me. Did things turn out like I thought they should, in my detailed plan for my life? Not at all. But I came through on the other side of it a wiser and better person. I don't know what would have happened if I'd not turned to Christ in that hard time. I think it would have been the beginning of a slow falling away. But since then, I've waxed and waned in my dedication and my testimony. I knew I could never deny the help that I felt or the truth of a blessing I received at the time, but I wouldn't put in the effort to feel the spirit, and then when I didn't feel the spirit, I'd think it some sort of indication that I didn't need spiritual direction in my life.

I have realized the truth of the scripture that says "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him..."

He is there for us. And even as we undulate in our commitment to Him, He will always welcome us back. One of my absolute favorite passages of scripture is in Doctrine & Covenants section 101 verses 7-9
They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.

These verses speak to me, perhaps because I so often find myself in the situation of being slow to hearken, and esteeming counsel lightly in my times of peace. But I know that He is filled with compassion towards me. And I am so grateful for that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The kids (and David when he's home) loooove to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Care Bears, Zoboomafoo, Tom & Jerry (a favorite of mine as well), Spectacular Spider Man, Jane and the Dragon, Legion of SuperHeroes, Bob the Builder, Johnny Test (another great one that David particularly loves), just to name a few. I like to watch one or two, too, but I have to be doing something else like folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen. I hate to have Saturday morning come and go and then have all the chores left in the afternoon. But it can be hard to want to work when you are surrounded by this:

Ah, to be a kid. Or a dog. Or a cat for that matter. (They're almost always lazy, but I don't know where they are right now to document their current laziness.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

adventures in pottyland

So on Sunday I told Spud about some really awesome cars I had (from the Pixar movie Cars) and that he could earn one each time he pooped in the potty. I showed them to him and immediately he started telling me when he wanted to sit on the potty. Up until yesterday, he had only peed in the toilet, pooping either in the tub (just that once, thankfully) or in a diaper. Each time he pees on the potty, he gets a jelly bean, but we were both anticipating the day the poop would fall. And yesterday, it DID! I was so happy, and he was happy because he could finally pick out a new car (he picked Mater). He did have two pee accidents in his training pants yesterday, but I guess it's one step forward, two steps back.

Last night, we were at our friends' house for a study group and he asked me to help him sit on the potty twice with no luck. Then he went downstairs to play. We went to Michaels Crafts after it was over. Standing there looking at colored pencils, Spud suddenly exclaims "We fohgot my diaper!" and pulls his waistband out. Sure enough, no diaper. It turned out that after he had gone downstairs, he thought he needed to go potty, so he went in the bathroom down there and took his diaper off. Since we use cloth diapers, this was no small feat. (We picked the diaper up on the way home.)

Today he's not had any accidents and he has pooped in the toilet twice, once pulling down his pants and going all by himself! I feel like he is well on his way to being diaper-free!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

role play

Last week for Family Home Evening, we had the kids reenact the tale of Samuel the Lamanite telling the Nephites to repent because Jesus would soon be born.  

Here's Spud reenacting the preaching from the wall:

(Click on the image to pull it up larger.)

There are some great pictures of Noodle, too. I'll try and get them up later.

disaster of epic proportions

I made these this morning

and got a mug out of the cupboard, only to then open the refrigerator and discover that we are OUT OF MILK!!

Oh horror of horrors!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New Soul

Blue had this music video on her blog and I like the song so much, I wanted to share it.

Yael Naim, New Soul

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

ha ha ha ha!!

do you need some mid-week humor? Here you go, courtesy of


My mom brought me a bunch of extra pillowcases and some sheets that she had lying around at home. They smell just like my mom's linen closet, which is one of my all-time favorite smells in the world. It's some sort of combination of line-dried laundry, a variety of soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and laundry detergents all combining together and having co-mingled for the past three and a half decades, resulting in the sweet, fresh smell of Home. (My mom has never been too tied to a particular brand of anything, whether toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, detergent, etc. Rather, she is a super sale watcher, and would stock up on whatever was on sale. It was always interesting to visit the Closet to find something to use. Of course, once I reached teenage years, I'd often buy my own shampoo so I could fit in with the teen trends. I remember Salon Selectives, in their hot pink bottles, were a popular choice and particular favorite of mine.)

I wish I could somehow package the smell and transfer it to my own linen closet, but I'm not sure that's possible. Maybe if I clean out my closet then put all of these sheets and pillowcases in there, some of the smell might permeate and linger.

Other favorite smells of mine are mint fields, lilac and skunk. There were mint fields not too far from where we lived growing up and when we'd drive past them, I couldn't drink in enough of the smell. It will always be the perfect smell of summer to me. Lilacs probably go without explanation, but they my all-time favorite flower scent. Skunk is one of those pungent aromas that can be unpleasant if too powerful, but I love the smell on crisp, cool air. The nose-tingling sensation makes me feel more alive. Noodle has come to like the smell of skunk, too, or so she claims.

Monday, April 07, 2008

waaah! no fair!

I'm pulling out my inner child to say:

It's NOT FAIR if your husband has to work late (when it's one of his nights to cook dinner) and your 3 year old son poops in the tub while taking a bath with his sister (requiring a shower for them both and "poop fishing" with a kitty litter box scoop) and THEN later sticks a bead up his nose (which requires the use of tweezers and a flashlight to get out).  

Nope, not fair at all.  Thankfully I was able to stay pretty calm thanks to the experiences of Kirsten and Debra (I thought you blogged about it, but I guess you just told me about it in person (wonder of wonders!)

moms are great!

My mom and dad were here this weekend and it was so great having them here--especially my mom. She is one of the neatest people I know. She is a smart, opinionated and resourceful woman. And she's fun, too. She helped me make the strawberry freezer jam Friday night and it is DELICIOUS! Yum! We made about 7 jars, but at the rate we are going through it, it'll maybe last until June. It just tastes so amazingly good on the homemade (breadmaker) bread. On Saturday she took the kids and I out for dinner, which was really enjoyable. The kids behaved themselves, too, and that was a relief. They normally do quite well when we take them out, but I did hope they'd be on good behavior because a few years ago my dad took the WHOLE family out for dinner (or maybe it was one of the families with their children) and one or more of the kids were not good, so he refuses to go out to dinner with children anymore. He's kind of a stickler in that way. I can't really blame him, but they weren't my kids.

Saturday night we watched The Business of Being Born. My mom is a retired obstetrics nurse, so I thought she'd find it interesting as well as have some good "insider secrets/insights" to share. She did. I asked her about what percentage of "natural" childbirths she would see as a nurse and she said nearly the only ones were those who came in and delivered too quick to get any of the meds. And she told me that she was the first of her mother's children (she's #4 of 7) born in a hospital. Which was interesting, because on the film they mention that in the year 1938, 50% of babies were being born in the hospital and that was the year she was born.

All weekend long she helped me get laundry folded and the kitchen cleaned up after meals, and it was so nice not to have to do the work alone. David is good at helping me when he's around, too, but it was nice to have a constant work partner. This morning, before they left, she mended some of Noodle's jeans and showed me the tricks of the trade. I have one more pair to get done and I think I need to do it today before my momentum dies completely.

In other news, I really really enjoyed our General Conference this weekend. I feel like I am in a much better place spiritually this time than I have been for the past few conferences, and I attribute that to more diligent scripture reading and our morning devotionals. The things that stood out to me most were President Monson's Sunday morning session talk, because I really felt a love for him as our new prophet, and Elder Ballard's talk to young mothers. Of course I have room for improvement and need for encouragement, but I have felt like I am also in a better place with regard to my role as a mother. I was impressed by Elder Ballard's skill at neither putting mothers and women on pedestals while at the same time not talking down to them. He incorporated just the right amount of humor and kindness to have a message that I think should resonate with all young mothers. I appreciated his words and look forward to studying them when they are available printed. I also enjoyed Elder Wirthlin's talk. His talks the past few years have been so full of the importance of and need for love. I feel like as our Apostles age, they have a way of getting to the heart of the most basic principles of the gospel. I dated one of Elder Wirthlin's grandsons in the Before David era and had the opportunity to meet him and his wife. Wonderful people in every way. He has held on to life much longer than his family expected. I'm sure it's been hard for them all since Sister Wirthlin died.

And I think President Uchtdorf is a very handsome man, with just enough accent to sound really suave but not so much that you can't understand him. Ever since I took German in high school, I've loved the name Dieter, pronounced "dee-tah". We all had our German pseudonyms in class, and the guy who had that name was a funny, cute kid. My name was Grete. I wanted Meike, but my friend stole it before it was my turn. Anyways, listening to President Uchtdorf conduct the sessions was quite enjoyable.

Other than that, I've been busy entering clients for David's work and I also got our family newsletter put together over the weekend, which was no small feat this month. Oh, and I also hosted a potluck for our family in the area last night so we could all spend some more time with Mom & Dad while they were here. It's been a full few days.

Friday, April 04, 2008

and just so you know...

It's World Rat Day today.

farewell, little Tully

My ratboy Tully passed away this morning. I knew a couple of days ago that the end was imminent. I spent a couple of hours over yesterday and today just holding him and stroking him. He was right around 2 years old. Rest in peace, little guy.

I am down to one lone rat, Finny. He is 2 1/2 years old (which is very old for a rat) and has a cataract on one eye, but he is still eating heartily and seems to be holding up okay. I just hope he isn't too lonely now.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

simple pleasures

Every other Thursday we get our produce co-op delivery. It's kind of like a mini Christmas, and the kids get excited, too. This time we ordered a bonus 8# of strawberries (I'm going to try my hand at freezer jam tomorrow!) and a case of oranges.

I've been craving orange juice all week, so I juiced several oranges and had a nice tall glass. It was certainly labor intensive, but very delicious!

Finally it was warm enough on a day I was doing laundry to hang some out to dry. My clothesline is one of my favorite things. I absolutely love the smell of line-dried things, especially sheets, and it always takes me back to my childhood as I have many many memories of mom hanging the clothes out, or me helping when I was old enough. The sight of clothes blowing in the wind is as calming to me as watching ocean waves break on the shore. (Which is good, seeing as how I make it so infrequently to the ocean!)

This is something else I like: my clothespin holder made out of a bleach bottle. Mom had (and still has, actually) one of these and I loved clipping pins along the edge of the opening and along the hole at the top. Funny I don't do this with my own...I guess I've finally realized it makes it more time-consuming to get the pins.

Aww, he thinks he's people. I love finding my pets enjoying the sun in unusual places. It's those times when I wish I could trade lives with my pets for a day--especially one of my cats. To lounge around soaking up the sun for a day sounds like sheer heaven. This is Noni, my large (ahem--fat!) kitty boy.